I don’t remember where I was. Maybe, it was in Chicago during one of my training sessions. Perhaps, I was in Memphis during the territory-wide engineering meeting for my company. Or maybe, I was sitting around at home or at the office…
Wherever it was, I remember looking at my budget for February and feeling extremely discouraged!
I’d been budgeting for 15 months. A real budget. For 15 months. Sure, the first couple of months were rocky. But, I finally got into the swing of things, and my budget was pretty much on cruise control. I went strong for about a year.
Then, February 2014 rolled around. I set up my usual budget, figuring it would be another cruise control month.
But it wasn’t.
It was not one or two (or three) big money items. It was all of the little nickel and dime expenses that I didn’t expect or account for. All of a sudden, my budget was in disarray…
And I was mad at myself. I was frustrated at my budget. I felt like I was losing control of a budget that was cruising along.
And I just started up this blog. I lost my motivation to blog. Sure, it’s new, and I probably don’t have any readers out there… (Hello?!) But it’s newness didn’t discourage me. I wasn’t quite sure why I couldn’t write anymore.
More About My Budget
My budget is wacky, always have been and always will be. But I got complacent. I set the cruise control and didn’t expect to eventually run into a car… or a tree. Okay, I am being too nice: I WAS BEING LAZY!!! And stupid. And I was lying to myself.
I do things like giving myself flexibility in my budget to shift things around and living off of last month’s income.
I do these things because they worked (and they still do). But I blindly assumed that they would always work without my careful watch.
February started as a bad month. My income was down (new year, higher medical premiums, more taxes, etc.), and I budgeted like I had my usual income.
When I realized that I was grossly over-budget, I started to pull money out of certain budget categories and made rash adjustments without thinking about what expenses I could reasonably expect for the month.
Then, things happened. My budget changed. And changed again. And again. It felt like I was making small little adjustments every day. And I got fed up.
After a few weeks of reflecting, I realized two important things.
I started this blog to talk about finances. The unspoken goal was to write about the good and the bad. Not just the good.
Taking care of my finances is critically important. And I have a blast when I am succeeding. But I need to realize that there will be lows in this roller coaster ride.
My goal is to share all of these experiences.
For my personal budget, I need to be more careful. In fact, March may also not be a good month. I pre-categorized my budget in March (back in February), and my income never caught up to all of the money in those categories.
So, I started to back down from different categories. But this time, I more wisely pulled money from categories after considering them carefully.
The better thing to do, starting in April for me, is to watch for income to come in first. Then, place that money into the appropriate places. That way, I will be forced into thinking about my priorities.
End of Whining Session